March 2, 2009
One of the greatest aspects of visiting New York City are the outdoor markets. In Autumn, the smell of apple cider and homemade doughnuts wafts through the streets, while in the Winter visitors can find the locals buying Christmas trees or perusing the holiday markets in Union Square. But once Christmas trees are thrown to the curb and homemade apple pies seem counterproductive to the annual weight loss resolution after the new year, what is left of the outdoor spaces normally frequented by these markets?
For the few brave local farmers, the cold winter temperatures of winter are no reason to abandon their stalls in the year long Green Markets put on by the Council on the Environment of New York City.
Elly Hushour, owner and operator of the Patches of Star Dairy, is a year round vendor at the Green Market in Union Square where she sells goat’s milk products, including goats milk ice cream. After maintaining her goat farm for the past 25 years, she has been participating as a Green Market vendor for the past seven years.
For Hushour, her goods are not relegated to a particular season.
“I’m here 12 months a year for the past seven years because no one ever gets tired of goat’s cheese,” jokes Hushour. “I have the benefit of selling a unique product that is not considered seasonal, so why shouldn’t I come out and introduce more customers to the benefits of goat products?”
Most vendors are considered seasonal. Vegetable farmers close up shop after Thanksgiving and do not reappear until the first crops are harvested. However, for those few that can their products or make salsas and other types of condiments brave the temperatures. Butchers and fisherman can also be found year round, as well as various bakeries and specialty farmers, including honey farmers and purveyors of maple syrup.
Hushour says she sees a decrease in sales when the winter months settle but still finds it worth the time to set up her booth. Grateful for the Green Market’s desire to stay open year round, on this cold January day Hushour says she has her eyes set on Spring.
“Likes blades of grass, the market has a small death during the winter months,” she said. “But come Spring, everything is rejuvenated – vendors return, more and more people start seeing the benefit of the market and shopping local. It’s beautiful, just like the first flowers of the season.”
Patches of Star Dairy is at the Union Square Green Market four days a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, all year long. The Council on the Environment of New York City also runs numerous other Green Markets throughout the winter months all over the city. Location information and market dates can be found at www.cenyc.org.